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Construction and Renovation Volunteer Project in Laos - Honkau

Construction and Renovation Volunteer Project in Laos - Honkau

Apply now. The next available start date for this project is Mar 7, 2022

Want to build your skills as a Construction and Renovation volunteer in Laos? International Volunteer HQ’s Construction and Renovation project empowers volunteers to take part in initiatives that help improve local infrastructure. Community organizations are often underfunded and poorly resourced so volunteers can make a tangible difference by lending a hand with vital upgrades and repairs. These make buildings functional, safer and more attractive to the people who use them, and allow the community services that provide some of life’s basics to have an even bigger impact.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from $310 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Make a tangible difference improving schools and community buildings

  • Explore the amazing mountains and markets of Laos

  • Stay with other volunteers in the rustic Honkau Village

Apply Now

Who is this program suited to?

Handy volunteers who are fit and willing to work hard doing a wide range of tasks. You’ll be assisting local staff so there’s no need to have prior experience in construction or renovation.
Who is this program suited to?

Key information

Improve infrastructure for the local community
Based in Honkau Village
Dormitory-style volunteer house
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day
Fully hosted experience from $310 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Introduction Week orientation available

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Community services such as schools, medical and childcare centers in Laos are important institutions, but many don’t make enough money to keep up with building maintenance. Volunteers can make a significant difference to make these services attractive and functional for the people who rely on them.

You’ll essentially be a volunteer laborer, helping with light construction and renovation tasks to improve buildings and sections. You’ll need to be flexible and adaptable in your approach to volunteering and be happy to go with the flow of local priorities. Your exact role will depend on what stage projects are at while you’re in Laos, but could include:

  • Building
  • Renovating
  • Painting
  • Restoration
  • Carpentry
  • Landscaping
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

As job losses escalate as a result of Covid-19, it is estimated that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods. We must improve access to jobs, decent work conditions and community services in order to achieve peace, sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for all.

Why do Construction and Renovation volunteering in Honkau with IVHQ?

As a volunteer builder in Laos you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving and upgrading local infrastructure
  • Making a visible difference to the community
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining building and renovation experience
  • Immersing yourself in Lao culture
  • Discovering Vientiane, Laos’ relaxed capital

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

”The IVHQ volunteer program and Laos itself made the trip so much more than just another trip, to be able to give back to the world with amazing volunteers/friends was just an unforgettable journey and an extraordinary experience.”

Read reviews from Construction and Renovation volunteers in Honkau

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Volunteer Abroad in Laos with IVHQ

Location

Compared to the thronging, bustling party that is other capital cities of South-east Asian countries, Vientiane in landlocked Laos is a hammock in the sun. This relaxed city has beautiful parks, French cafes, markets, a war-torn history and all the trappings of the wider region - tasty food, temples and monuments, tropical weather, and plenty to do - without the crowds. Wider Laos has a huge range of adventure activities popular with visitors, and breathtaking waterfalls and scenery.

The IVHQ Laos Program is based in Honkau Village just outside Vientiane. Volunteer placements are located in and around Honkau Village and the wider Vientiane region.

Arrival and orientation

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Wattay International Airport (VTE) in Vientiane. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

Volunteers need to arrive in Vientiane on the Sunday before orientation. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Honkau Village. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Laos prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Vientiane on the day before your program orientation. There are two options for orientation in Laos.

One-day Orientation: This runs for a full day and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Laos, including an introduction to the IVHQ Laos program, the local team, general rules and a class on the local culture and language. In the afternoon, you’ll learn about the local projects, go on a walking tour of the local area, arrange your SIM card, and finish the day planting vegetables like a local. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Introduction Week: This week is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend everyone take advantage of it as you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the culture of Laos, a true appreciation of local life and extra time to bond with your fellow volunteers. It includes the One-day Orientation as well as excellent sightseeing tours and a number of interesting cultural experiences. Plus, it’s a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in Laos.

The Introduction Week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer program will commence the following week. Introduction Week in Laos does incur an additional $20 surcharge to cover the additional costs. If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week, you can indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program or you can let your Program Manager know once you have been accepted on the program.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays

After the initial orientation week, you will work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer guesthouse.
9:00 AM Volunteers travel to their placements by foot, bicycle or tuk-tuk.
12:00 PM Volunteers break for lunch and travel back to the volunteer guesthouse. In some cases volunteers eat lunch at their placement. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work (where applicable).
3:00 - 4:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer guesthouse, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.
6:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer guesthouse. After dinner volunteers will have the remainder of the evening free to relax and use as they wish.

Weekends

Volunteers have the weekends free and there is no shortage of things to do in Vientiane or further afield in Laos. Volunteers can fill their free time with local markets, adventure activities or simply exploring parts of Vientiane.Laos is a popular tourist destination, offering beautiful nature and scenery, with great biking, kayaking, climbing, caving, trekking and rafting. Volunteers who wish to take a long weekend to travel can enjoy the beautiful limestone mountains and waterfalls in Vang Vieng, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang or even take a two-day cruise on the mighty Mekong River.

Volunteers staying for longer durations, or who wish to travel before or after their program, can visit areas further afield in Laos and neighboring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam. Volunteers can make travel arrangements once in Vientiane, with the advice and guidance of our local staff.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style volunteer house in Honkau Village, approximately 60 minutes outside of Vientiane.

The volunteer house can accommodate up to 30 volunteers and you should expect to share a room with up to 4 other volunteers of the same gender. All rooms are equipped with a fan and have a shared bathroom equipped with western toilet and shower. Bedding is provided and volunteers will need to bring their own towels. There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however volunteers are required to keep their rooms tidy.

The accommodation has Wifi which volunteers are able to use during set hours of the day. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to access the internet.

Meals

Laotian food is very tasty and during your time in Laos, you will be sure to receive some delicious treats.

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day. Breakfast is self-serve at the accommodation and generally includes tea, coffee, eggs, bread and fruit. Lunch and dinner are prepared in the guesthouse restaurant and will often include fresh vegetables, fish or meat, cooked with fresh herbs and spices, and served with plenty of sticky rice. Noodles are common at mealtimes too, as are local soups.

Fresh tropical fruit is plentiful at roadside stalls and there are many street food vendors around Vientiane offering local treats.

Bottled water is readily available in Laos and volunteers should budget approximately $10 per week for 2 liters a day.

Pricing

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
1 week $310 Equivalent to $45/day
2 weeks $525 Equivalent to $38/day
3 weeks $740 Equivalent to $36/day
4 weeks $950 Equivalent to $34/day
5 weeks $1,160 Equivalent to $34/day
6 weeks $1,370 Equivalent to $33/day
8 weeks $1,690 Equivalent to $31/day
10 weeks $2,010 Equivalent to $29/day
12 weeks $2,330 Equivalent to $28/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteering

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Laos generally find US$50-75 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Volunteer Laos add-on’s that we offer at a special volunteer discounted price:

If you would like to explore the best of Laos with peace of mind that everything is planned for you, our local team has a 14-day road trip that is popular with IVHQ volunteers. Experience Vietiane to Luang Prabang and all the hidden gems in between - this road trip with a difference is the perfect opportunity for volunteers who wish to combine meaningful volunteer work with the chance to see the sights and participate in some incredible adventure activities.

Your road trip through this wonderful country will include culture activities, including language lessons, cooking classes and temple visits. You’ll also enjoy social activities, such as a karaoke night and visiting the night markets, as well as outdoor adventures, including kayaking, ziplining and trekking. You’ll also be giving back to a local community - volunteering in a local school and assisting with teaching, construction and renovation.

The 14-day road trip costs US$970 and includes accommodation, transport and meals and the cost of all the activities that are included as part of the program (see the itinerary for the specific meals included).

Please contact us or your IVHQ Program Manager to sign up or to get more information about this trip.

Full itinerary of the road trip:

Here’s what you can expect on your road trip:

Sunday - Day 1: You will be provided with an airport pick up from our local team and be transported to our local team’s center, followed by a brief introduction. We know you will be tired from the long journey so after this volunteers are free to relax or explore.

Dinner is provided in the evening.

Monday - Day 2: Start off with an introduction to the local team, general rules and a class on Laotian culture and language. In the afternoon go on a walking tour around the town, arrange your SIM card for your phone if you would like to have one and finish the day with a cooking class!

All meals are provided on this day.

Tuesday - Day 3: Visit the local village in the morning and prepare a flower offering for a local temple. Then head to several famous landmarks in Vientiane such as Victory Monument, Golden Pagoda, and Wat Sisaket. This is followed by a dinner on the riverside, along with a visit to the night market before heading back to the accommodation.

All meals are provided on this day.

Wednesday - Day 4: This morning involves hiking to a scenic location that overlooks the city and a picnic lunch will be provided for you at the top! In the afternoon you will participate in a mediation lesson with local monks. In the evening you will get to ‘belt out’ your favourite tune at a karaoke night in a local Lao restaurant.

All meals are provided on this day.

Thursday - Day 5: After breakfast our local team will transfer you to Vangvieng (3 hours drive). On arrival you will get to enjoy a walking tour of the city, followed by a visit to a local temple and then in the afternoon free time to explore. During the evening you will head to the famous night market!

All meals are included on this day.

Friday - Day 6: Head on a trek to a nearby mountain and explore the caves. More adventure for your afternoon which includes a kayak trip. After dinner you will be able to relax and hang out as you will most likely be a bit worn out from all your physical activity today!

All meals are included on this day.

Saturday - Day 7: Visit the beautiful Pahom village and don’t forget to check out the view from the village cliff! Lunch is next to the river today followed by a trip to the lagoon where you can spend your afternoon swimming and ziplining. Free time after dinner to explore.

All meals are provided on this day

Sunday and Monday - Day 8 and 9: These two days are dedicated to volunteering and you will assist a local school with renovations and spend time teaching local children. After dinner on both days you have free time to hang out with your fellow volunteers and enjoy Vang Vieng.

All meals are provided on this day.

Tuesday - Day 10: Pack your bags as you’re headed to Luang Prabang - on arrival you will be provided with a delicious lunch. The afternoon will involve trekking up a mountain to enjoy a beautiful sunset at the summit. Dinner will be in town tonight and afterwards you will get to explore the world heritage town.

All meals are provided on this day.

Wednesday and Thursday - Day 11 and 12: These two days are dedicated to volunteering and you will assist a local school with renovations and spend time teaching local children. After dinner on both days you have free time to hang out with your fellow volunteers and enjoy Luang Prabang.

All meals are provided on this day.

Friday - Day 13: Spend the morning visiting temples, talking with local monks and lots of shopping while taking in the stunning views of the town. Your afternoon is an excursion to a Bear Rescue Centre followed by a visit to one of the most well known waterfalls in the country. Take a refreshing dip before you head back to the accommodation to pack your bags for an early morning departure.

All meals are provided on this day.

Saturday - Day 14: You will be transported back to Vientiane.

Breakfast is provided on this day.

When you apply for an IVHQ volunteer program, make a note of which tours and add-ons you’re interested in on your application form so we can check availability and prices for you.

Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your Program Manager will be able to book your place on the tour(s) you have chosen and help you organize your trip.

Check what's required to visit Laos

Fill out the quick form below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Laos, based on your country of residence.

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Safety and support with IVHQ

Protecting against COVID-19:

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Health & safety information provided during orientation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Greater physical distance between volunteers

Essential country information

Capital Vientiane
Population 7.1 million
Languages Lao
Currency Lao or Laotian Kip (LAK)
Time zone UTC+07:00

Weather and climate

The climate in Laos is considered tropical monsoonal, days are typically warm and sunny all year around, with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F). The rainy season runs from May to October, and this is when humidity and temperatures can peak at 40°C (100°F). The dry season runs from November to May, and this is when the temperature is typically cooler and can get to a low of 15°C (58°F)

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